Sum or Yum Cha, or "tea
lunch," is a treat for the entire family. Many Chinese families
reserve Sunday mornings for this outing. It is not only an opportunity
to savor the delights of dim sum, but to visit with friends as well.
Chinese people call the
little delicacies served at tea lunch dim sum, which translates as
"touching your heart." And that indeed is what these small
morsels do. The advantage of sampling them at a teahouse is the great
variety available. It may take you several visits to determine your
favorites. There are steamed shrimp and pork dumplings, deep-fried egg
rolls and taro-root dumplings, green peppers with shrimp filling, and on
Cantonese dim sum, it is all good at
color, fragrance, taste and shape,
its characteristic is that the ingredients used are of best quality and
plentiful, variety is numerous, style is novel, tastes are various, it
suits the needs of every eater and four seasons.
The first step in yum
cha is the selection of your tea. The waiter will ask you for your
choice, and you might take this opportunity to try a variety you
havenít tasted before, such as loong jaing (dragonís well), po nay,
jasmine and so on.
There is no need to ask
for a menu. The food will come to you on carts or on trays. Some items
are on plates, some in metal or bamboo steamers; each serving contains 2
to 6 pieces, depending on the item. There are four main groups of food
from which to choose. The first is made up of steamed dishes like shrimp
or pork dumplings and pork buns. The second group is the variety group,
such as parchment chicken, pickled mustard greens and duck or chicken
feet. The third classification covers deep-fried items: egg rolls, rice
rolls, pork triangles and others. The fourth group is comprised of sweet
items like sponge cake, coconut jelly, and delightful custard tarts.